10 Internet Access, Security, Privacy Threats for 2010

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10 Internet Access, Security, Privacy Threats for 2010

by Clint Boulton

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Global Internet Censorship

This issue takes on an interesting light when we consider Google's recent pledge to cease censoring its Google.cn search engine in China after the company's servers were hacked in the country. "New filtering initiatives in Australia and Europe combined with growing rhetoric around child protection, cyber-security and IP enforcement means that blocking Websites isn't just for authoritarian regimes any more. That's not to say tyrants aren't paying close attention to the West's new censors. When democratic governments complain about Iran and China's net policing in 2010, expect defenses of 'we're only doing what everyone else does,'" Jones claimed.

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Cyber-security Legislation Stirring in U.S Congress

Jones said federal technology legislation slept a bit in 2009, as Washington's attention was claimed by health-care reform. However, 2010 will see the rising of federal tech law from its slumber with key provisions of the Patriot Act up for re-authorization before April 1. He also expects The Snowe-Rockefeller Cyber-security Act, which would grant the president the power to disconnect the Internet, to resurface.

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Always a Favorite... Net Neutrality

Network neutrality is every politician's and tech aficionado's bugbear. Google and other Internet companies fought hard in 2009 to free up the data pipes among U.S. telecommunications companies. The FCC is expected to institute network neutrality this year. But Jones asks: How far can the FCC be trusted? Historically, the FCC has sometimes shown more concern for the demands of corporate lobbyists and "public decency" advocates than it has for individual civil liberties.

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News Organizations Revolt Against Google

News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch and his cocktail party constituents in the mediasphere spent 2009 complaining about Google and its effect on their businesses. They don't like a search engine selling advertising against their content without getting money for it, even if their content is spread across the Web for all to consume. Jones is betting the print world will force changes to current copyright law, or by placing pressures on intermediaries to quit working with Google and other search engines.

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Online Video

Like music and print before it, TV is facing pressure from the increased digitization of content. YouTube and Hulu were the start. Jones said we must watch for TV Everywhere, a new DRM-laden attempt by the TV industry to trip up the Boxee Internet-TV connection. Meanwhile, Selectable Output Control is Hollywood's push to drive analog interfaces into extinction in favor of DRM-restricted digital interfaces. In short, Hollywood will control what consumers record on their DVRs in 2010.

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Cracking GSM, SSL

Moving along to attacks, Jones said cryptography implementations should come to the fore. Specifically, he expects more security attacks on GSM cell phone technology and SSL for Web browsers in 2010.

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Hardware Hacking

The hobbyist community is figuring out how to make a range of devices more useful and open so they can work with other high-tech products. There is a particular focus on cell phones. In 2010, phone jailbreaking will become even more mainstream and extended to other devices. The EFF will be there to defend them.

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Web Browser Privacy

Google and other search engines take cookies from our Web browsers to improve the search experience, but Jones said companies seeking to track consumers' Web use are building new methods of profiling. The FTC is expected to address privacy and the use of profiles to target ads based on individuals' Web browsing habits.

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Location, Location, Location

The EFF has fought to check the government's ability to use cell phones to find people and to access the information that social networks, mobile operators and transportation systems collect about where you are and where you travel. With more users logging onto Google Latitude, Twitter, Foursquare and other location-based services, location privacy will be a big issue in courts.

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Social Networking Privacy

Law enforcement officials are using Facebook and Twitter as evidence to convict or exonerate people for crimes. But with 350 million-plus Facebook users, hackers will exploit those services with phishing scams. "Will a major privacy scandal or two fix the social networking sites' casual attitude to their customers' personal data? Will new laws? Or will technologists and increasingly sensitive Net users find their own way to protect their privacy?" Jones asks.

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